L.T.C. Rolt was born at Chester in 1910. From childhood he had been fascinated by the history of engineers and engineering, and his writing reflected his interest. His first book, Narrow Boat, published in 1944, describes a journey along the English canals during the twelve years that he lived afloat. His subsequent biographies of famous engineers, like his writings on railways and motor cars, show his concern to give the story of the Industrial Revolution as an imaginative and literary shape.